Trail of the Month: November 2001
Jay to Farmington Trail, Maine
With the original ballast of gravel and sand still in place, the 14-mile Jay to Farmington Trail possesses a ruggedness that befits the Trail's rural surroundings. Located in the beautiful western hills of Maine, the Jay to Farmington Trail offers scenic views of rolling hills, dense mixed forest and open farmland to its diverse group of trail users. Through cooperation and collective effort, motorized and non-motorized options for snowmobile and ATV riders, cross country skiers, equestrians, hikers and mountain bikers all exist successfully on this corridor.
Originally, it was a group of Maine's large population of snowmobile enthusiasts that served as a catalyst for this former Maine Central Railroad (MCR) corridor to come under the management of the Maine Department of Conservation — Bureau of Parks and Lands in 1982.
After seventeen years of successful management, the Department of Conservation purchased the corridor from the Maine Central Railroad in 1999. Since owning the Trail, the Department has held informal meetings with local Trail users and advocates to create an ongoing forum for receiving feedback and suggestions on trail improvements.
One recent trail improvement in September 2001 was the re-decking of the 400-foot East Wilton trestle to make it suitable for all Trail users, with particular care given to the proper surface for equestrian users. The funds for this project came from Maine's ATV and snowmobile registration program, which provides local snowmobile and ATV clubs with trail maintenance grants. The Department of Conservation supplied the tools, and local members of the Western Maine ATV Association and the Wilton Conservation/Energy Commission representing cyclists, skiers, and equestrians all came and supplied the labor for the project.
With more improvements scheduled in 2002, and an already established spirit of collective use, understanding and tolerance, the Jay to Farmington Trail exists today as one of America's best examples of local trail enthusiasts from all walks of life working together to share the Trail that they value so much. As we transition through the foliage colors of the autumn season, come visit the Jay to Farmington Trail in Northern New England and see for yourself.